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A La Carte

August 27, 2016

I was not able to scrounge up any new Kindle deals today, though I know there will be some good ones coming next week (with the start of a new week and the start of a new month). Stay tuned to the Kindle Deals for Christians page.

J. Alec Motyer (1924-2016)

Yesterday brought the news that Alec Motyer, a prominent Old Testament scholar and commentator, had died. Justin Taylor provides an obituary.

A Reasonable Case Against Same-Sex Marriage

Michael Bird makes a very reasonable case against same-sex marriage. You may need to do a bit of translation from his Australian context, but it still holds up well on this side of the Pacific.

Can Mother Ever Relax?

“When my children were little, it seemed so much more straightforward. I prayed for wisdom to know what to say; now, I pray for wisdom to know if I should say anything. That is one of the hardest things I have learned as my kids have grown up: knowing when to speak.”

The Budapest Escape Room That Started the Worldwide Craze

Escape rooms have suddenly become all the rage. This article tells where and how they began (and why that’s not a surprise).

On David Gushee’s Dishonesty

I’ve read quite a few responses to David Gushee’s recent column at Religion News Service. I do believe this is the best.

This Day in 1960. 56 years ago today Mark Dever was born. Happy birthday, Mark! 

Can We Be Saved Without the Church?

Yes, even Protestants can and should ask this question.

The Men’s Dress Shoe Hierarchy

Here’s all you need to know about dress shoes for men. File it away because you’ll want to refer to it at some point!

Why Most Chinese American Christians Are Conservative Evangelicals

“Chinese American sociologists, historians, and theologians, and even the Pew Research Center all confirm the fact that Asian American Christians are predominantly conservative evangelicals, as opposed to liberal Protestants, Roman Catholics, or Eastern Orthodox.” Why?

Flashback: Downstream in the Moral Sewage

Drawing some lessons about the moral sewage flowing downstream.

The Pastor as Renaissance Man

I’m thankful to MBTS for sponsoring the blog this week with “The Pastor as Renaissance Man.”

A life of humility is not an option for a believer to choose or reject. It is a command of God. —Jerry Bridges 

August 26, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include 4 titles: Romans (The Story of God Bible Commentary) by Michael Bird; The Life of God in the Soul of the Church by Thabiti Anyabwile; Heaven: Your Real Home by Joni Eareckson Tada; and How To Read the Bible Book by Book by Gordon Fee.

Westminster Books has a great deal on a new book that looks really helpful: Faith that Lasts: Raising Kids That Don’t Leave the Church by Jon Nielson.

How Celibacy Can Fulfill Your Sexuality

This is a good and important word from Sam Allberry. “Marriage is not ultimate, but it points to the thing that is. Marriage itself is not meant to fulfill us, but to point to the thing that does.”

Critic or Disciple?

Here’s a great little anecdote from the life of John Stott.

The Hidden World of the National Parks

Google has put together an impressive site to celebrate 100 years of National Parks. With it you can tour through some of the most amazing parks.

The Lie of Sinning Without Suffering

“We’re all getting catfishes. … But this isn’t a modern phenomenon at all. In fact, it’s centuries old, so old in fact that the author of Proverbs exposes one of the oldest catfishing schemes in the book…”

Preacher, Don’t Trust Yourself in Your Preaching

This is a great article from Thabiti Anyabwile. “I suspect that most preachers regularly fight to put their trust in the correct place when it comes to their preaching. Maybe that’s just me, but I’m probably not alone. It seems to me it’s easy for the preacher to trust himself even when he doesn’t intend to.” He explains what that can look like.

This Day in 1901. 115 years ago today the New Testament of the American Standard Version Bible was published. This was the first major American Bible translation since the King James Version of 1611. *

Words That Seem Like They’re Related, But Aren’t

This video will surprise you with a list of words that seem like they are related, but aren’t. Did you know, for example, that “male” and “female” are not related in their origins?

3 Ways “The Blind Men and the Elephant” Story Backfires

It occurs that I’ve only ever heard this story told by Christians who then refute it. But there must be some unbelievers out there telling it as well!

How Do Animals See in the Dark?

You say “evolved,” I say “created.” But anyway, it’s still interesting.

Flashback: Not In Part But the Whole

To be partly forgiven is to be wholly damned. Partial forgiveness is complete condemnation. The Christian and the Christian alone knows the pure delight of God’s full and final forgiveness.

One generation believes something. The next assumes it. And the third will forget and deny it.D.A. Carson

August 25, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Christians in an Age of Wealth by Craig Blomberg, Shaped by the Gospel by Tim Keller, God and the Nations by Henry Morris, and Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Tim Lane.

Purity Culture

Samuel James offers his take on a new article about Joshua Harris and his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. “It is often difficult for me to read a blog post that excoriates evangelical purity culture, and discern where the criticism of legalism ends and the criticism of the Bible’s teachings on sex begin.” That’s just so true.

One Empty Desk

I hope for the sake of your church and its health that you’ve had this painful experience! (And, as it happens, I remember seeing this author’s desk empty once upon a time.)

Remember Their Names

Here are a couple of quick tips about names.

7 Dangers of Embracing Mere Therapeutic Forgiveness

I consider this an important and often-misunderstood topic. “I’ve held the position, for a while now, that there is a difference between the posture of forgiveness and actually living in reconciliation with someone.”

Sincerity Over Intensity

“Relax and be yourself, worship leader. Use your gifts, sing with your voice, and join together with your people, to glorify God together. You don’t need to worry and you don’t need to wear yourself out. Thank God!”

This Day in 1560. 456 years ago today Protestantism was formally adopted by the Church of Scotland. Scottish Parliament had earlier accepted a Calvinist confession of faith. *

…And Called It Macaroni

“Generations of American kids forced to sing ‘Yankee Doodle’ have grown up justifiably puzzled by its lyrics.” Here’s an explanation for that whole macaroni thing.

You Are Not the Bride of Christ

Ryan takes a look at the “bride of Christ” references in the Bible and points out an important fact about them.

Pastoral Ministry Does Not Have To Be Sedentary

You’ll benefit from this article if you’ve got one of those jobs that requires a lot of sitting.

Flashback: The 10 Greatest Hymns of All Time

I know you won’t agree with the entire list, but here are my picks for the ten greatest hymns of all-time.

Repentance: is a characteristic of the whole life, not the action of a single moment. —Sinclair Ferguson

August 24, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include 3 from Christian Focus: A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament by Alec Motyer, A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Papacy by Leonardo De Chirico, and A Little Bird Told Me by Timothy Cross. Then there are several from Zondervan as well: How God Became Jesus by Michael Bird, What’s Best Next by Matt Perman, How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth by Gordon Fee, Visit the Sick by Brian Croft, and more. You can find them all here.

Westminster Books has a deal on The Biggest Story, a book (and now DVD) for kids by Kevin DeYoung. They’ve got several other great kids’ books marked down as well.

We Have Been Warned

Rod Dreher comments on “an extraordinarily important column laying out the future for Christians who reject the Sexual Revolution in its latest form.” He links to an article by Denny Burk that is also worth reading.

In Praise of Low-Budget, Non-Professional Music Ministries

Mark Dever describes the music ministry at his church and why they joyfully keep it low-budget and non-professional.

The Difference Between God’s Adoption and Ours

Here’s a brief, sweet article on the vast difference between God’s adoption and our own.

Ministry Is Discouragement

This is an honest and ultimately encouraging article from Guy Richard.

8K New York

Get thee to thy biggest and best screen to watch this phenomenal 8K (is that even a thing?) timelapse of New York City. You’ll want to full-screen and HD it.

This Day in 1456. 560 years ago today volume two of the Gutenberg Bible was bound, making it the first full-length book to be printed using movable type.

Wait to Date Until You Can Marry

We are beginning to have these conversations with our children.

13 Reasons You Are Precious To God

Mark Altrogge briefly rounds them up.

Legroom on Major Airlines

I suspect your interest in this graphic will vary proportionally with your height. It shows how much space you’re paying for when you book that airline ticket.

Flashback: Flipping God the Bird

I think we understand humanity best when we understand that human beings are born with our middle finger extended toward God. We grow up with our middle finger extended toward God. We die with our middle finger extended toward God. At least we do unless God intervenes and lowers it by his grace.


We do not love to learn that we can do nothing without Christ.J.C. Ryle

August 23, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: God’s Love by R.C. Sproul; 7 Truths that Changed the World by Kenneth Samples; Preparing Evangelistic Sermons by Ramesh Richard; and In Defense of the Bible by Terry Wilder.

Logos 7

I mentioned yesterday that Logos 7 has released. This article by Morris Proctor (a Logos guru) jumps into one of the 7 major new features. (Also, Andy Naselli shares a brief expression of confidence in the software and the people behind it.)

What Media Get Wrong About Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that they get nearly everything wrong. “A major new report, published today in the journal The New Atlantis, challenges the leading narratives that the media has pushed regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Pastoring People Who Are Smarter Than You

I think most pastors have dealt with this fear before. “I won’t feign humility by falsely degrading my own abilities (though to be honest, in my weaker and more insecure moments I have), but in a comparison of intellectual horsepower, I don’t measure up to the academic achievements of many of my parishioners.”

Thousands Leave Norwegian Church as Online Registration Backfires

Here’s a strange story: “The internet makes everything easier. Sit down at your computer for half an hour, and you can pay your bills, order dinner—and, now, leave the Lutheran Church of Norway, all in just a few clicks.”

Grateful for the Wait

Randy Alcorn: “Barbara Brown Taylor phrased it, ‘What kind of God allows the innocent to suffer while the wicked pop their champagne corks and sing loud songs?’ We may say, ‘Yes, Lord, we accept your wisdom in permitting evil and suffering for a season—but enough is enough. Why do you let it continue?’”

Does Your Pastor Love You?

Here’s a good way to tell.

This Day in 1828. 188 years ago today Carl Gutzlaff and Jacob Tomlin became the first Protestant missionaries to set foot in Thailand. *

Contentment and Providence

“How fragile is your contentment? How much of your life—or how little—would have to change for you to plunge into frustrated, joyless discontent?” John MacArthur offers encouragement.

The Optimal U.S. National Parks Centennial Road Trip

Some day I’ll do this, though I should probably work through the Canadian parks first.

Flashback: 9 Parenting Truths from John Piper

Here are some important parenting truths from John Piper.

In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 22, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include:  Look and Live by Matt Papa (a personal favorite!); Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen; A Shelter in the Time of  Storm and Whiter than Snow by Paul Tripp; Journey to Joy by Josh Moody; and Seeking the Face of God by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. You can get them at the Kindle Deals for Christians page.

Logos 7

There is big news for Logos users: Logos 7 launches today! There is going to be a special live event from 8 to noon PST that will include product demos and interviews with experts.

Christian Judge Fights to Keep Job

This will be a case to watch as it may prove yet another bellwether: “The Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics has asked the high court to remove Judge Ruth Neely, the Pinedale municipal judge and part-time circuit court magistrate, from office, ban her for life from the Wyoming judiciary, and fine her $40,000. Her offense? In response to a reporter’s question, Neely stated her Christian perspective on marriage precluded her from officiating a same-sex wedding.”

The Next 500 Years

Ligonier Ministries 2017 National Conference promises to be a good one. It also features a very interesting group of speakers that includes Michael Reeves, Augustus Lopes, Sinclair Ferguson, Al Mohler, John MacArthur, Stephen Tong, Alistair Begg, and Michael Horton. (There are also a number of breakout sessions, one of which I’ll be hosting.)

A Carnival Attraction That Saved Thousands of Premature Babies

The Smithsonian has a strange, fascinating tale of a man who ran a carnival attraction that was actually designed to save lives.

With Love, Your Single Daughter

The blogosphere has generated a lot of discussion about singleness. But of all I’ve read, this is one of my absolute favorites.

The Dark Side of Going for Gold

The Atlantic writes about the huge letdown that can come after the Olympics, even for those who have the greatest success. “More than 11,000 Olympic athletes will leave Rio, some carrying medals, others lugging the weight of falling short of expectations. Despite their varying degrees of success, many will have the same surprise waiting for them back home: a feeling that life suddenly seems ordinary.” (How much better is it to have the faith of David Boudia and Steele Johnson who gladly tell of their identity in Christ.)

This Day in 1670. 346 years ago today John Eliot founded an Indian church at Martha’s Vineyard with Indians Hiacoomes and Tackanash appointed as pastor and teacher. *

Keep Teenagers Weird

Samuel James keeps writing some very interesting think pieces, like this one. “The loudness and busyness of most evangelical student ministry programming might actually be reinforcing the very worldly liturgies it’s trying to contest.”

Iceland and the Trials of 21st Century Tourism

This is a very, very interesting deep-dive into Iceland’s ascendency as a tourist destination. As with so many other people, Iceland is definitely on my bucket list. Read the article and you’ll have the joy of encountering some people with pretty impressive names like Guðrún Þórisdóttir and Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir.

Flashback: Remembering the Christian Bookstore

Bookstores have fallen on hard times. Christian bookstores have fallen on especially hard times. Of all the industries utterly savaged by the rise of the Internet, e-commerce and digital distribution, books and music, the mainstays of Christian bookstores, are right near the top of that list. The consumer’s win has been the bookstore’s loss.

There is no way back to innocence. In the Bible, there is only a way forwardto the cross. —D.A. Carson

August 20, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: God Against the Gods by Brian Godawa; One New Man by Jarvis Williams; A Dream so Big by Steve Peifer; Truth Matters by Andreas Kostenberger; and Old Testament Exegesis by Douglas Stuart. You can find them all here.

Top 10 Things I Wish Worship Leaders Would Stop Saying

Jared Wilson lists the things he really wants worship leaders to stop saying—things like “Lord, we invite you to be here” and “Let’s give God a hand.” He follows it with Top 10 Things I Love That Worship Leaders Do.

Can the Devil Read My Mind?

R.C. Sproul takes a shot at an answer.

Ministerial Magpies

Jeremy Walker writes about pastors and plagiarism, but he does so very realistically. “We must never simply run through another man’s sermons as if they were our own. Simple honesty forbids that. But, when opportunity permits and as duty requires, let us make our way into the vineyards of our bookshelves and e-resources, and glean the best of the fruit; spend time around those vines that have produced the sweetest and juiciest fruit of past years. Press down the grapes and soak prayerfully in the best of the past, and let it seep into us.”

Praying in the Wake of Zika

Kathryn Butler, an MD, writes about Zika. “As Christians, how do we understand the outbreak, and how do we respond to the fears, both in our communities and in our own hearts?”

Dumb Moments in Church History

I wish I had thought of this idea for a series! This should be good.

This Day in 1913. 103 years ago today, Robert McDonald, an Anglican missionary and gifted linguist, died in Winnipeg. He evangelized to the First Nation peoples of Canada. *

Where Did the Footprints Poem Come From?

Everyone knows the poem. But who wrote it? “The short answer, it seems, is that there are many claimants to authorship (no surprise given the potential financial windwall if authorship can be demonstrated!), but no consensus as to who wrote it originally.”

Flashback: Sanctification Is a Community Project

The measure of the Christian life is growth in holiness. We grow in holiness, at least in part, by putting sin to death. We put sin to death by exposing it to the light.

The Reformation at 500

Thanks to the G3 Conference for sponsoring the blog this week. The conference takes place in Atlanta this January.


There are too many men who are ministers before they know how to be Christians. —Richard Baxter

August 19, 2016

Aging with Grace

This article is fantastic! “Proverbs says Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised and Gray hair is a crown of glory. After all, isn’t my age part of God’s sovereign plan for my life? He decided the year of my birth. Not a decade before. Not a decade after. And if every hair is numbered, that includes the ones that are no longer black.”

Is It Ever Okay for a Christian To Lie?

Here’s a simple question that requires a long answer.

Parents Cry ‘Foul’ as Doctors and Educators Ignore Them

David French on transgenderism: “Human experience simply doesn’t conform to ideological models, and the far worse damage is done when we try to impose radical ideology onto the complexities of individual, troubled lives. In reality, people are far more vulnerable to suggestion and fashion than the Left lets on. Rather than affirming an immutable identity, our culture is ratifying and rendering permanent what often amounts to little more than a troubled youthful phase — one that is subject to all the whims of fashion that mark any other cultural trend.”

3 Pieces of Marriage Advice from Spurgeon’s Mother-In-Law

“Charles Spurgeon abandoned his fiancée on a Sunday afternoon. After lunch, a carriage took the betrothed couple from Susannah’s house in St. Ann’s Terrace to Kennington where Charles would preach.” That led to her receiving some invaluable advice.

The Two Things Killing Your Ability to Focus

There are some solid suggestions here. (As usual, replace “meditation” with “devotions.”)

This Day in 1662. 354 years ago today, Blaise Pascal, French scientist, polemicist, and Christian apologist, died at age 39. *

Lost in Light

This video shows how much of the night sky we lose through light pollution.

God Remembers You

There is real comfort here: “The King of kings, whose deeds are worthy of being proclaimed among the nations, remembers the weak. He never forgets. His mind is a veritable steel-trap. He knows the conditions and concerns of his people. How encouraging is this?”

4 Interesting Facts about the Production of the KJV

George Guthrie offers 4 things you may not know about this most revered of translations.

Flashback: What Will Be the Cost to the Church?

What will be the cost to the church if young men continue to give themselves to pornography? What do we, as Christians, stand to lose if so many of our young men continue to spend their teens and twenties in the pursuit of pornographic pleasure?


Unconditional love does not equal unconditional approval of my behavior. —Christopher Yuan